As Oregon readies for Alamo Bowl, Dan Lanning's future staff begins to take shape
The Ducks are reportedly hiring Tosh Lupoi, a move that would significantly soften the recruiting blow from Mario Cristobal's departure
There’s been a lot of shifting lately, not that anyone had to tell Verone McKinley III.
All Oregon’s All-American safety had to do at Monday’s Alamo Bowl press conference was take a look at his surroundings. The only head coach he had ever played for was gone and in Miami. His new head coach was somewhere else preparing to coach Georgia’s defense in the College Football Playoff. Next to McKinley on stage wasn’t Kayvon Thibodeaux, who opted out and is off to the NFL, but less heralded teammates and a defensive coordinator in Tim DeRuyter who will be on his way to Texas Tech as soon as Wednesday’s Alamo Bowl concludes.
“College football is a place where there is always going to be movement,” said McKinley, who led the FBS with six interceptions in 2021. “Coaches are going to move, players are going to move, but the ‘O’ is going to stay the ‘O’ regardless.”
As to whether McKinley will be one of the many who move on from Oregon after this season, that’s still to be determined. He’s going to play in Wednesday’s Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma and then take a lay of the land. He’ll talk with people on the NFL side. He’ll talk with his family. And he’ll certainly spend some more time talking to Dan Lanning, hired to replace Mario Cristobal earlier this month.
And while yes, Lanning is still with No. 3 Georgia preparing to face No. 2 Michigan in Friday’s Orange Bowl, Oregon’s new coach has been busy filling out a coaching staff he hopes is worthy of keeping players like McKinley in tow.
“(The Time change) has given us the opportunity to be able to really focus on Georgia early on during the day and then later on at night able to get a lot of things accomplished with our team there at Oregon and our staff as we’re piecing that together,” Lanning said from Orange Bowl media day. “I don’t clock in and clock out. We work until the work’s done — sometimes that’s later than other nights. We’ve hit a couple of late nights, but no lack of energy or ability to roll here.”
The Ducks have so far added:
Adrian Klemm, offensive line coach previously with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kenny Dillingham, offensive coordinator/QB coach previously with Florida State.
Matt Powledge, co-defensive coordinator previously with Baylor.
Tony Tuioti, defensive line coach previously with Nebraska.
Demetrice Martin, defensive backs coach previously with Colorado.
And while all of these moves come with their own intricacies, the first big hire reportedly happened on Monday, with multiple outlets reporting that current Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi will be on his way to Eugene as Oregon’s co-defensive coordinator as soon as the NFL season ends.
And while a coach from Urban Meyer’s tire fire of a staff in Florida might not exactly pop off the list for those uninformed, this one checks an awful lot of boxes for the Ducks.
Mainly: Lupoi recruits at a Mario Cristobal level with West Coast ties.